Protecting the Integrity & Reputation of Irish Horseracing

Gary Halpin (Rider) Appeal - Tramore 14 August 2014

The Appeals Body (Division Two), Judge Tony Hunt (in the Chair), John Moloney and Paul Ronan met at the Turf Club, The Curragh, Co. Kildare on Thursday 28th August, 2014 to consider an appeal from Gary Halpin, rider of Pennys Angel, against the decision of  the Stewards at Tramore on 14th August 2014.  On that date the Stewards found the rider to be in breach of Rule 208(ii) (e) in that he failed to take all reasonable measures to take part in the O’Neill’s Bar Handicap race when it started. As a result he was suspended for three race days. 

The rider’s grounds of appeal were that the decision of the Stewards was unwarranted and did not take into account all of the circumstances.

Evidence was heard from Gary Halpin, Leigh Roche, who rode Wildcat Kitten (USA) in the race, Joe Banahan, Starter at Tramore, and David Broad, who was at the start and witnessed what occurred.  Film of the race was also viewed.

In his evidence Gary Halpin said that he was positioned to take part in the race when the starter ordered the runners to take another turn and walk in. He said that his mount “spat out the bit” as they turned and was not in a position to race when the runners took off. He said he shouted three times to the starter to say he was not ready to race. He concluded by saying that he slapped his mount down the shoulder three times, but the horse showed an unwillingness to go forward.

In his evidence Leigh Roche confirmed that the starter asked the riders to take a turn and walk in. He said that after the race had started he heard shouts, but he was unaware who it was until he returned to the weighing room.

In his evidence Joe Banahan said that said that they were a little ahead of schedule so he asked the riders to take a turn and walk in. He said he made sure that all the horses were turned in the right direction and was satisfied that everything was in place to effect a start. He concluded by saying that he heard no shouts and had no issue with the race start.

In his evidence David Broad said that he was at the start as he had a runner in the race. He said he heard the starter telling the riders to take a turn and walk in. He said that when the horses had jumped off he heard a shout and that Gary Halpin’s mount “did not look too cooperative.”

Having considered the evidence, the Appeals Body found Gary Halpin to be in breach of Rule 208 (ii) (e).  However, having taken all the circumstances into account and the evidence given by David Broad, the Committee reduced the suspension to two race days (Monday and Wednesday, 1st and 3rd September 2014).

The case was presented by Conal Boyce, Solicitor, Naas, Co. Kildare.  Gary Halpin was represented by Patrick Ward, Frank Ward & Co, Solicitors, Dublin 7.


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